Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh Shoot Me, New York Daily News

I've decided on a whim to start a new recurring feature here at LITC: Oh Shoot Me. OSM will highlight the most awfulest prehistory reportage the mainstream media has to offer.

First up, the New York Daily News with their article New fossil found in England makes pliosaur biggest predator among the dinosaurs. It opens thusly:
T-rex was a wimp. The recent discovery of a fossilized skull in England crowns the new king of predatory dinosaurs: a 53-foot “sea monster” called a pliosaur.
Want another gem? Cool, okay!
Experts believe that the skull - which measures over 6-feet - contains the largest dinosaur jaw ever found in England, or the world, and that it means pliosaurs were powerful enough to rip a small car in half.
Seriously? We've confused people enough by calling a pliosaur a dinosaur. We're going to muddy it further by saying it could rip a small car in twain? If vehicular destruction is going to be our preferred measure of a prehistoric beast's bite strength, couldn't we pick a small submersible or motorboat?

Though the mistake is called out by one of the post's commenters, this is the comment I'll take away from it, courtesy one ezekiel14: "Gosh, even in prehistoric times did John Kerry get eaten alive by Karl Rove." Not sure where ezekiel14 got a stale political jab out of the article, but large props to him for it.

I've featured some numb-skull reporting in the past, but I think I'll present it in this format in the future. I'd like to hope it will be a rare occasion, but that's not very realistic, is it?

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